Indexing: Wills of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1856

If you need help navigating to the Pennsylvania probate records on FamilySearch, click here for guidance.

Today’s data is from “Wills 1839-1870 vol 3-5”. Check the first column of the table below for the image number. Type it into the box near the top of the page on FamilySearch (Image __ of 701) to find the desired image.

283 Mary Baird Salem 3 Jan 1856
Thomas Hanna South Huntingdon 18 Jan 1856
Peter Bridge Unity 21 Jan 1856
284 George Kepple Sr Hempfield 30 Jan 1856
James Horrell Fairfield 11 Feb 1856
285 Jacob Kepple Salem 13 Feb 1856
Matthias Saxman/Soxman Derry 14 Feb 1856
286 John Borland 21 Feb 1856
Jacob Ebersole Borough of Mt Pleasant 26 Feb 1856
287 Margaret Culbertson Derry 29 Feb 1856
William Seese Allegheny 10 Mar 1856
Sarah M Smith Hillside 12 Mar 1856
288 Mary Baum Greensburg 13 Mar 1856
Augustus Vogel Borough of Greensburg 14 Mar 1856
Jacob Dry Sr Hempfield 26 Mar 1856
289 duplicate image
290 Peter George Washington 8 Apr 1856
John S Kunkle 11 Apr 1856
Frederick Wilyard/Williard Salem 12 Apr 1856
291 John Rutledge Village of Livermore 22 Apr 1856
John S Scholl South Huntingdon 23 Apr 1856
Christopher Sandels East Huntingdon 8 May 1856
292 Peter Byerly Burrell 9 May 1856
William Hughes Derry 26 May 1856
293 Jacob Krepps Rostraver 30 May 1856
Samuel Calhoun Salem 12 Jun 1856
Martha E Baldrige Borough of New Alexandria 19 Jun 1856
294 Robert West Borough of Youngstown 29 Jul 1856
295 Daniel Shaw North Huntingdon 4 Aug 1856
Joseph Warren Borough of West Newton 6 Aug 1856
Henry Hess Donegal 16 Aug 1856
Jacob Potser Hempfield 13 Aug 1856
296 Samuel Kennedy Sr Fairfield 15 Aug 1856
John Gilmore Fairfield 15 Aug 1856
297 Thomas O’Brian Unity 16 Aug 1856
298 Frederick Kintz Unity 18 Aug 1856
Nathan Cope Rostraver 18 Aug 1856
299 John Harr Borough of Ligonier 18 Aug 1856
John Hill Fairfield 1 Sep 1856
300 Peter Earnest Borough of New Salem 2 Sep 1856
John Gill Washington 20 Sep 1856
301 Moses Gillespy Unity 26 Sep 1856
William McDowell Ligonier 1 Oct 1856
David Shryock Salem 7 Oct 1856
302 Martha McGeary Allegheny 17 Oct 1856
Samuel Sloan 31 Oct 1856
303 Hugh Corrigan Derry 29 Oct 1856
Caleb Davis Fairfield 29 Oct 1856
304 George Fisher Rostraver 5 Nov 1856
305 Cornelius Campbell Cook 7 Nov 1856
Ludwick Kepple Hempfield 22 Nov 1856
306 Anthony Ruff Mt Pleasant 22 Nov 1856
307 Edward Henry Sewickley 28 Nov 1856
Thomas Johnston Loyalhanna 27 Dec 1856
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Stanley Robert Smith: Taken To Toledo

On March 15th, 1933, Stanley and his two young co-conspirators were turned over to federal agents1 who transported them the roughly 50 miles from Findlay to Toledo.  The very next day2, they were taken to the federal courthouse, located at 1716 Spielbusch Avenue.

OH-Toledo_RG121-BS_70_TT_1
https://www.fjc.gov/history/courthouse/toledo-ohio-1932

The building was constructed just a year prior to Stanley’s arrival there.  In 2007, it was dedicated as the James M. Ashley and Thomas W. L. Ashley United States Courthouse.  During the Civil War, James Ashley was the first member of Congress to call for a constitutional amendment outlawing slavery; he authored the forerunner of the Thirteenth Amendment.  His great-grandson, Thomas W. L. Ashley, served thirteen terms in Congress.3

Surprisingly, given the building’s large size, it was built to house a single district judge.  A $104 million construction project, planned to begin in January 2018, will update the existing building as well as create a large annex more suitable for current needs4.  The only dedicated courtroom, built in 1932, can be seen below:

courtroom
Ceremonial Courtroom in the U.S. District Courthouse, Toledo5

The Arraignment

The three men were taken before U.S. Commissioner John C. Budd.  All three pled guilty to charges of violating the Dyer Act (i.e., transporting stolen vehicles across state lines).  Each was held on $1000 bond pending a hearing before the grand jury6.

U.S. Commissioner John C. Budd

At the time, Commissioner Budd had been serving in this role for nearly six years.  Born in 1891 in Perrysburg, Ohio, John C. Budd was one of fourteen children born to a German father.  He grew up helping on his parents’ farm and it was in this manner, hiring himself out as a farm laborer in his neighborhood, that he earned the money to put himself through business school.

After graduating from law school at Toledo University, Budd spent nine years working as the private secretary to federal judge John M. Killits (pictured below), who would later appoint him to the position of U.S. Commissioner.7

Lucas1923PFrontKillits
John M. Killits, editor of Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, 1623-1923. S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1923.

In 1933, Commissioner Budd’s office was located in the Produce Exchange Building8 at the corner of Madison Avenue and North St Clair Street, just over half a mile from the federal courthouse.

produce exchange bldg

The building was demolished in 1984 and has been replaced by a parking lot, across the street from the present-day PNC tower.

location of produce exchange
Former Location of Produce Exchange Building, Toledo, Ohio

1 “3 Turned Over to Federal Officers,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 16 Mar 1933, p 3 col 7.
2 “Three Admit Guilt in Federal Court,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 17 Mar 1933, p 9 col 4.
3 House Report No. 110-455 (2007).
4“Designer, construction manager named for U.S. courthouse in Toledo”, Toledo Blade, 18 Nov 2016. <http://www.toledoblade.com/Courts/2016/11/18/Designer-construction-manger-named-for-U-S-courthouse-in-Toledo.html&gt;, accessed 31 Oct 2017.
5 Ibid.
6 “Three Admit Guilt in Federal Court.”
7 Story of the Maumee Valley, Toledo and the Sandusky Region, Vol. III. S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929, pp. 14-15.
8 Polk’s Toledo (Ohio) City Directory. Toledo Directory Co., 1932, p. 1363. Entry for John C. Budd.

Stanley Robert Smith: Who Knew?

As much as I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, it seems unlikely that certain portions of the family were oblivious of Stanley’s actions leading up to his arrest for violations of the Dyer Act.

The barn on Park Street that Stanley and his cohorts used to store and work on their stolen vehicles was most likely on the property of his wife’s parents, the Foremans.  How else would the police have known to look there first?  The lot was not a particularly large one as the Foremans lived in town.

I’ve never removed and replaced a car’s engine before, but I would guess it is neither a quiet nor a clean job.  It is hard to imagine that no one in the family ever heard metallic clanging from the barn or saw people move cars and car parts in and out.

My own great-grandparents, Oliver Arras and Clara Viola Smith, also likely suspected that something was going on.  Suddenly, during the Great Depression, two of their college-aged sons had cars of their own.  From the stories told within the family, money was tight enough that meat was not often on the table during this time period.  A lot of our favorite family recipes–noodles and mashed potatoes, potato soup with rivels–have their source in the Arrases’ lean times.  My grandma would not eat milk gravy as an adult because her family had had to rely on it so many times when she was a child.

Even today, when these financial considerations don’t apply, I cannot imagine my children suddenly appearing with cars of their own.  I’d probably worry that they were selling drugs.

Perhaps, then, the question is not, “Did the family know?”, but “Why did they stay quiet?”

Maybe the money that Stanley and his nephew brought in was helping to support their families.  Both families had young children at home.

Perhaps they just couldn’t bring themselves to report their own relatives to the police.

What do you think?

 

Indexing: Wills of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1855

If you need help navigating to the Pennsylvania probate records on FamilySearch, click here for guidance.

Today’s data is from “Wills 1839-1870 vol 3-5”. Check the first column of the table below for the image number. Type it into the box near the top of the page on FamilySearch (Image __ of 701) to find the desired image.

259 Mary Ross Burrell 4 Jan 1855
260 John Tilbrook Sewickley 19 Jan 1855
Hugh Owens Allegheny 9 Feb 1855
261 Christian Walthour North Huntingdon 7 Mar 1855
Henry Reator Cook 8 Mar 1855
262 William Clark Fairfield 13 Mar 1855
Jacob Brough Donegal 14 Mar 1855
263 Armor Mellon Unity 31 Mar 1855
Polly Rugh Washington 2 Apr 1855
264 George Myers Hempfield 6 Apr 1855
Robert S Nickerson Derry 27 Apr 1855
265 Michael Meyer Saltlick Twp, Fayette County 28 Apr 1855
266 Allen Rose East Huntingdon 1 May 1855
John Hunter Mt Pleasant 1 May 1855
267 Abraham Stockberger Unity 4 May 1855
Sarah Hurst Mt Pleasant 7 May 1855
268 Thomas Elder Derry 11 May 1855
269 Anne Jane Anderson Borough of Mt Pleasant 15 May 1855
Philip Klingensmith Allegheny 17 May 1855
Cordelia Smith Borough of Greensburg 28 May 1855
270 Samuel Kooken Unity 6 Jun 1855
Thomas Copperstone Borough of Youngstown 15 Jun 1855
271 Agnes Kirker Franklin 28 Jun 1855
Mary Burkholder Derry 3 Jul 1855
272 Gideon G Beer Sewickley 10 Jul 1855
John McDonald Allegheny Co., Maryland 12 Jul 1855
Adam Fisher Mt Pleasant 31 Jul 1855
273 James McLaughlin Burrell 6 Aug 1855
Paul Warden East Huntingdon 21 Aug 1855
274 Joseph Guiger Franklin 31 Aug 1855
William Crosby North Huntingdon 6 Sep 1855
275 Samuel Orr Rostraver 6 Sep 1855
Robert Rainey Salem 7 Sep 1855
276 Samuel Oliver Hempfield 15 Sep 1855
277 Maria Craig 22 Sep 1855
John Campbell Fairfield 19 Oct 1855
Sarah Johnston Unity 20 Oct 1855
278 Peter Uncapher Loyalhanna 22 Oct 1855
James Kirkwood Washington 13 Nov 1855
Jane Fleming 16 Nov 1855
279 Margaret Fleming 16 Nov 1855
William W McClain Borough of Mt Pleasant 27 Nov 1855
280 Peter George Sr Hempfield 1 Dec 1855
281 Elizabeth Hill Ligonier 11 Dec 1855
Elias Peterson Unity 11 Dec 1855
282 John Martin Wentzler South Huntingdon 26 Dec 1855
John Kline Penn 19 Dec 1855

Stanley Robert Smith: “Horse Laugh”

It seems that Stanley was lucky the county prosecutor, Marcus C. Downing, had such an interesting sense of humor:

HORSE LAUGH
Former Prosecutor Admits One on Him

Even an astute prosecuting attorney gets it “hung over” on him occasionally as Former Prosecuting Attorney Downing will tell you–if you ask him.

Some months ago Stanley Smith Findlay young man who pleaded guilty in Toledo Thursday to automobile thefts, told this one on the former prosecutor:

Smith returned from Ft. Wayne, Ind., with a stolen car.  In order to get in touch with his companion in crime, George Foster who pleaded guilty yesterday also, Smith drove onto Beech avenue and parked in front of a lighted home to use the phone.  When he rapped at the door the then prosecutor came to the door.  (Downing had twice sent Smith to jail on offenses and recognized him.)

“Hello Mr. Downing,” Smith said when he recognized his adversary in court.  “Ah, er — can I use your phone?”

“Sure, come in,” said Downing.  Whereupon Smith said he called up Foster, though the prosecutor knew nothing of the conversation.

“How are you getting along?” asked the prosecutor, when Smith was about to leave.

“Oh, just fine,” Smith replied.

“That’s good, keep it up,” was Downing’s God-speed to him.

Whereupon Smith drove away in his stolen car.

“Yep, that’s right.  He did,” was Downing’s good-natured comment when the reporter asked his corroboration of the story.1


1 “Horse Laugh,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 17 Mar 1933, p 9 col 2.

Stanley Robert Smith: A Refresher Course

Since I stopped in the middle of Stanley’s story to talk about the death of his sister, Lena, it seems that perhaps a quick refresher course might be in order before jumping back in.

Stanley and Lena were two of the twelve surviving children of George Henry and Mary Lucinda (Rauch) Smith.  My great-grandmother, Clara Viola (Smith) Arras, was also one of this group.

In 1929, when Stanley was about 19 years old, he was arrested repeatedly in the course of a few weeks.  First, for stealing butter, then passing a bad check, and finally, forgery.

Following his third arrest, the victim finally decided to press charges against him and he was held in the Hancock County jail awaiting trial.

He and several other prisoners attempted to escape, though their plan was foiled by a mirror, of all things.

He was convicted and sentenced to a term in the Ohio State Reformatory.

Shortly following his release, Stanley and a fellow inmate, Charles Williams, were arrested for the theft of gasoline from a filling station.  Following another escape attempt, the two were tried and ultimately convicted of highway robbery, which carried a sentence of ten to 25 years in the state penitentiary.

Charles Williams filed an appeal and remained in the Hancock County jail, while Stanley was transferred to the Ohio State Penitentiary.

Nearly a year after their arrest, Charles Williams’ case was reviewed by the Ohio State Supreme Court, which ruled that their crime could not be considered highway robbery.  Charles was released with immediate effect, followed soon thereafter by a full pardon for Stanley from the Governor of Ohio.

Unfortunately, Stanley was home with his family for less than a year before he was arrested again.  This time he was suspected of being a fence in an interstate auto theft ring.

Though he attempted to cover for them at first, others, including a teenaged family member, were involved in these shady dealings.

Indexing: Wills of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1855

If you need help navigating to the Pennsylvania probate records on FamilySearch, click here for guidance.

Today’s data is from “Wills 1839-1870 vol 3-5”. Check the first column of the table below for the image number. Type it into the box near the top of the page on FamilySearch (Image __ of 701) to find the desired image.

259 Mary Ross Burrell 4 Jan 1855
260 John Tilbrook Sewickley 19 Jan 1855
Hugh Owens Allegheny 9 Feb 1855
261 Christian Walthour North Huntingdon 7 Mar 1855
Henry Reator Cook 8 Mar 1855
262 William Clark Fairfield 13 Mar 1855
Jacob Brough Donegal 14 Mar 1855
263 Armor Mellon Unity 31 Mar 1855
Polly Rugh Washington 2 Apr 1855
264 George Myers Hempfield 6 Apr 1855
Robert S Nickerson Derry 27 Apr 1855
265 Michael Meyer Saltlick Twp, Fayette County 28 Apr 1855
266 Allen Rose East Huntingdon 1 May 1855
John Hunter Mt Pleasant 1 May 1855
267 Abraham Stockberger Unity 4 May 1855
Sarah Hurst Mt Pleasant 7 May 1855
268 Thomas Elder Derry 11 May 1855
269 Anne Jane Anderson Borough of Mt Pleasant 15 May 1855
Philip Klingensmith Allegheny 17 May 1855
Cordelia Smith Borough of Greensburg 28 May 1855
270 Samuel Kooken Unity 6 Jun 1855
Thomas Copperstone Borough of Youngstown 15 Jun 1855
271 Agnes Kirker Franklin 28 Jun 1855
Mary Burkholder Derry 3 Jul 1855
272 Gideon G Beer Sewickley 10 Jul 1855
John McDonald Allegheny Co., Maryland 12 Jul 1855
Adam Fisher Mt Pleasant 31 Jul 1855
273 James McLaughlin Burrell 6 Aug 1855
Paul Warden East Huntingdon 21 Aug 1855
274 Joseph Guiger Franklin 31 Aug 1855
William Crosby North Huntingdon 6 Sep 1855
275 Samuel Orr Rostraver 6 Sep 1855
Robert Rainey Salem 7 Sep 1855
276 Samuel Oliver Hempfield 15 Sep 1855
277 Maria Craig 22 Sep 1855
John Campbell Fairfield 19 Oct 1855
Sarah Johnston Unity 20 Oct 1855
278 Peter Uncapher Loyalhanna 22 Oct 1855
James Kirkwood Washington 13 Nov 1855
Jane Fleming 16 Nov 1855
279 Margaret Fleming 16 Nov 1855
William W McClain Borough of Mt Pleasant 27 Nov 1855
280 Peter George Sr Hempfield 1 Dec 1855
281 Elizabeth Hill Ligonier 11 Dec 1855
Elias Peterson Unity 11 Dec 1855
282 John Martin Wentzler South Huntingdon 26 Dec 1855
John Kline Penn 19 Dec 1855